FOX apologises for X-men billboard showing Mystique in a chokehold

If you're a fan of X-men, the movies, you're in all likelihood a fan of Mystique, the complex mutant who can change her appearance to look like anyone, but spends most of the films looking like her blue, and very naked, self. In this ninth X-men movie a supervillain named Apocalypse is holding Mystique in a chokehold. This image is a super attractor to the film, as we all know Mystique, here played by Jennifer Lawrence, can outsmart, outstrangle and outkick almost anyone. This visual is the quickest way to communicate "bad ass villain" to the fans.

Outstrangle? Yes, Mystique has been known to take a chokehold or two herself, see below.

But that doesn't matter because as soon as non-fans of the X-men universe saw the poster, they saw sweet Jennifer Lawrence being strangled by some really big guy. Articles reported on random complaining twitterers and Rose McGowan voicing concern: Huffpo "Why The Internet Is Disturbed By This ‘X-Men’ Poster", Telegraph "Here's what's terribly wrong with this X-Men: Apocalypse poster".
Rose McGowan said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter;

"Imagine if it were a black man being strangled by a white man, or a gay male being strangled by a hetero? The outcry would be enormous. So let’s right this wrong. 20th Century Fox, since you can’t manage to put any women directors on your slate for the next two years, how about you at least replace your ad?"


She continued: "I’ll close with a text my friend sent, a conversation with his daughter. It follows: ‘My daughter and I were just having a deep discussion on the brutality of that hideous X-Men poster yesterday. Her words: 'Dad, why is that monster man committing violence against a woman?' This from a 9-year-old. If she can see it, why can’t Fox?"

Now, I'm not sure where Rose is from but around these parts one can not see a persons sexual orientation by simply looking at them, so any actor portrayals of gay or straight men strangling each other on posters could only be interpreted by the viewers if they knew the characters already. Like how I know Mystique kicks ass, and thus this Apocalypse fella must be super bad.

Eventually Fox caved, and have now apologised for the poster with this statement:

"In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse we didn't immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form," Fox said in a statement. "Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologize for our actions and would never condone violence against women."

Thanks to Lunarachist on twitter for the snazzy snaps of Mystique putting men in chokeholds. Mystique is pure blue badass.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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